Seeing the new modern,

light-filled Sherle Wagner space on Slocum Street was a long walk down memory lane for me.

 My first step into the design world, more than three decades ago, was entering the grand John Edward Hughes showroom in Oak Lawn Plaza.

Just to the right of the elegant entryway was a dramatic darkened room down a couple of stairs.

The walls were upholstered in deep chocolatebrown velvet with bright spotlights shining on exquisite gold hardware.

Gold levers and knobs inset with semi-precious stones

and painted porcelain were displayed aptly in velvetcovered jewelry cases.

 I had never seen anything so glamorous and enticing in my life—nothing short of the hallmark that is the inimitable brand of Sherle Wagner.

Visiting the dramatically different, bright new Sherle Wagner showroom is the same exciting and inspiring experience.

Eighteen skylights bathe the space in light. A cascading water feature and pool,

and an allee of bamboo trees create a luxurious, tropical feel—like being in the most elegant bathroom in the world.

There are displays of the mostly gold classic collections and the hand-painted bowls and accessories.

But, the spare surroundings provide a perfect backdrop for the architectural series based on mid-century designs just reintroduced in the last few years.

Says Evan Geoffroy, Sherle Wagner’s grandson and the director of the company,

“My grandfather’s pioneering creations are what truly define our tradition of innovation and style.

 Some are in their original form; many have been updated in scale and proportion to reflect the contemporary aesthetic.

They represent evolution of the company from paying homage to art and tradition, to truly creating art of the home.”

 Sherle Wagner, an architect by trade, started making elegant bathroom fixtures at the request of his wife Rose’s clients.

Rose was a designer who specialized in outfitting closets and dressing rooms with fine finishes of exotic woods and silk-covered hangers.

A proper master bathroom was the next step, and in 1945 Sherle Wagner came out with his first product—the Dolphin faucet,

based on the iconic French Le Dauphin imagery, delicately hand-carved and clad in 24K gold plate.

In the beginning Sherle Wagner was primarily an import company.

Today, everything in this family-owned company is produced in their American factory in Fall River, Massachusetts.

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